Even as there is still a lot of concern about the future of integrated resorts (IR) in Japan, one location determined to be among the first to host casino gambling isn’t slowing down. The Wakayama prefecture has finalized its negotiations with its selected casino operator, a consortium led by Clairvest Neem Ventures, to bid for one of the first three licenses Japan’s national government could issue. Now, they will fine-tune their plans and present them to the government.
Wakayama Pushes Forward with IR Plans
Clairvest beat out Suncity Group to win over Wakayama as the best potential casino partner a couple of months ago. It didn’t hurt that Suncity decided to drop out of the race. Since then, the company and its partners have been working with the Wakayama prefecture to figure out how best to introduce their collective IR concept. According to an announcement by the prefecture yesterday, the discussions have come to a successful conclusion, making Wakayama the first potential IR location to have its plans in place.
The Clairvest consortium envisions a large resort that would cover 6.12 million square feet on the prefecture’s artificial island of Marina City. The initial investment will run around $4.3 billion, although additional funds will be made available for further expansion as the resort is built out. The Canadian company is partnered with French casino operator Groupe Partouche SA and AMSE Resorts Japan Co Ltd. to bring the massive project to life.
Hashing Out the Details
Wakayama and the consortium had to figure out all the intricate details of the project before they felt comfortable enough to call their plan a success. Among these were the transparency of the operations, ethical considerations, interconnectivity with local businesses and more. Wakayama has also requested that the group enhance the IR implementation plan, as well as continue to make additional tweaks to ensure the proposal sent to Japan’s National Diet is worthy of being considered.
Wakayama is among only a small handful of locations that are currently in the running for an IR, although that could change. Osaka and Nagasaki are two of the other frontrunners, with Tokyo’s future, once considered a lock, now in doubt. With opposition to the IR scheme mounting, there is a chance that Japan might not approve three locations as initially expected, but Wakayama is doing everything it can to be ready, just in case.
As the prefecture and the consortium continue to collaborate on the IR project, slight changes are expected until everyone is 100% satisfied. Only then will Wakayama forward its proposal to the government and has indicated that it expects to have everything ready by the end of next April. Japan is expected to make its final decision on the IR locations sometime late next year; however, as it fights resistance to the concept, delays may be introduced.